How to Stop Being Afraid

For my Patheos friends, this post kicks off a series over the next few weeks as we unpack the following steps from Psalm 46 in more detail to discover God’s wisdom on how to stop being afraid.  Enjoy!

Smack dab in the middle between real life and real faith is — real fear.  Fear of failure. Fear that we’ll look foolish. Fear that everyone will laugh when we do. Fear that __________ — fill in the blank with your own fear. There’s no shortage of them.

I believe that for those who have trusted in Christ as their only hope, God has not left us to be paralyzed by the unknown. Instead, His Word gives us 7 steps for overcoming fear and rising victoriously above the challenges that come our way.

That’s not to say it will be easy.

They’re not simple steps, although they sure do beat the alternative of being imprisoned by fear. Maybe you’re feeling that vise now as it tightens its grip on your soul. Maybe you’ve been getting advice that sounds good, but some of it is leaving you with the uneasy feeling that you’re missing God’s wisdom in it all. God’s solutions to life’s struggles tend to require great faith because they are often counterintuitive.

Our family has had to continue to learn a thing or two about walking by faith and facing our fears over the last many months as God called us to step away from our security and step toward our destiny. Most recently, He called us to take a further step that had me literally forcing my hand open, palm up, telling God how much it scared me to let go. I’m still fighting to keep that hand open and step forward as I choose not to fear.

Psalm 46 reveals divine wisdom, 7 steps to overcoming fear. Over the next few weeks, I’ll unpack each step in more detail — they’re each rich with comfort, courage, and hope — but for now, here’s some counterintuitive wisdom from the psalmist to press forward with confidence.

7 Steps to Overcoming Fear

  1. Remember who God is. The psalm begins with the vital reminder that God “is our refuge and our strength,” both our defense and our offense. Even better, it says that He is a “very present help” in our trouble. The words literally mean that God is abundantly ready to aid us when fear strikes — if only we will let Him. That, quite frankly, is the hard part.
  2. Remember who we are. When we pause to ponder God as our fortress, we’re quickly reminded of a simple fact — we often need a fortress. We get freaked out by the storms of life when “mountains are cast into the sea” or the “waters roar and foam.” And who wouldn’t? Oh, that’s right. God.
  3. Trust in His grace. In the midst of life’s chaos, “there is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God.” As God’s dwelling places, we must trust — by faith — that we will “not be moved.” On a practical note, it is much easier to trust when we have not cut ourselves off from the means God uses to get the grace to us.
  4. Know that he will answer. Once we are trusting in Him, we can then position ourselves to wait for Him to act. When God does it, there will be no mistaking it — bows are broken, spears cracked in half, and chariots burned. In other words, shows over; everybody go home. But remember, God likes to move “just at the break of dawn.” He is, after all, the God of the eleventh hour.
  5. Be still. The hardest part to overcoming fear is doing nothing. Yet that is precisely what God calls us to do so that he can get maximum glory for His efforts. There will be stuff to do, to be sure, but it will be God who does it. Waiting on Him will require more faith than you ever dreamed possible. But it is the only path to overcoming fear.
  6. Watch Him work. “Know that He is God.” The Hebrew word used here translated know carries the connotation of knowing by observing. In other words, when we position ourselves before Him and wait for Him to move, we get taken to school by the Almighty I Am. We learn more about how mind-blowing He is — but we learn it in a way we could never have understood if we hadn’t waited for Him to move on our behalf.
  7. Worship Him! “The Lord of Hosts is with is! The God of Jacob is our refuge.” It’s important to note that the psalmist’s first chorus of praise comes before God’s rescue arrives. The second chorus comes after. We show our faith when we worship Him as if He has already delivered us from the fear we are facing — because we know with such certainty that He will. Faith is acting based on what you believe to be true and not on what you might see around you.

If you know someone struggling with fear, you might want to share this link with them so they can follow along over the next few weeks for more detailed help in overcoming fear. I know I need it. I can’t be the only one.

NextOvercoming Fear: It All Starts with God

Have you ever seen God do something amazing when you were content to be still and wait for Him to move? Do you know someone wrestling with fear? Share this post and/or share a comment to help us all live with abundant faith.

About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and communicator who empowers people to live a story worth telling. As the founder of FaithWalkers, he equips Christians to think, live, and lead with abundant faith.

His next book entitled Live a Story Worth Telling: A FaithWalker's Guide is scheduled for release in May 2015 from Abingdon Press. His writing has been featured with Michael Hyatt, Ron Edmondson, Skip Prichard, Jeff Goins, Blueprint for Life, Catalyst Leaders, Faith Village, and many others who shall remain nameless.

Bill is a blessed husband and the father of six children with an extensive background in education and organizational leadership. He serves as VP of Content & Operations for Polymath Innovations in partnership with Patheos Labs. He is the Junior Scholar of Cultural Theology and Director of Development for the Center for Cultural Leadership. He works with a variety of ministries including Equip Leadership (founded by John C. Maxwell) when he's not visiting his second home -- Walt Disney World.


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